Letter from the President & Artistic Director

December 13, 2018

Thank you for your interest in and support of Gateways Music Festival.  We are excited to present the 15th Gateways Music Festival and celebrate our 25th Anniversary in 2019!

2019 will be our most exciting and comprehensive Festival to date.  In keeping with our strategic plan, we have started to build the organization’s capacity by adding staff, increased our fundraising efforts and expanded programming.  In 2019, in addition to the Festival components you have come to enjoy over the years, we’ve added a film series, including a silent film with live accompaniment from a Gateways ensemble; a Gateways After Hours where Gateways musicians will showcase the non-classical music they also love; a solo organ recital; a chamber music performance at the Memorial Art Gallery featuring music and artwork by artists of African descent and much more!


This year’s theme will focus on the music of Florence Price.  In addition to playing her 3rd Symphony (We played her 1st Symphony in 2015), we’ll also perform her two violin concerti and LOTS of her recently discovered chamber music.  The documentary about her life, Caged Bird will also be a part of the film series.


One of Gateways’ founder Armenta (Hummings) Dumisani’s most important goals for Gateways – which was part of the Festival’s first mission statement – was for Gateways musicians to go back to their communities and create opportunities for themselves, other musicians and their communities.  There have been many wonderful programs started by Gateways musicians, and this year, we will celebrate two of them:  Terrance Patterson’s Ritz Chamber Players and Kelly Hall-Tompkins’ Music Kitchen for the Soul.


As you all know, all Gateways public performances have been without charge since the Festival’s founding in 1993.  In July, the board of directors voted to begin charging a modest amount ($10-$15) for a few of the Festival’s performances.  We will provide free tickets to groups representing individuals who are unable to pay this amount.


For each Festival, approximately 125 instrumentalists (orchestral only, including piano) are selected to participate in more than 50 chamber music, solo piano and full orchestra performances.

Gateways Music Festival is open to professional classical musicians of all backgrounds.  The Festival’s programs and activities, however, focus on compositions and the shared life experiences of classical musicians of African descent. Musicians of all nationalities and ethnicities are welcome to participate in Gateways, and recent Festival participants have come from the Dominican Republic, Brazil, Colombia, Great Britain, Germany, Canada and the Caribbean.

Gateways participants are members of many professional orchestras including the Rochester Philharmonic, Age of Enlightenment, Chicago Sinfonietta, Joffrey Ballet Orchestra, New Mexico Philharmonic and the symphonies of Charlotte, Detroit, Ft. Wayne, Houston, Huntsville, (VA), Knoxville, Nashville, Oakland, Phoenix, Portland, Richmond (IN), San Antonio, Seattle and more.

Many participants are members of faculty including the Eastman School of Music, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, North Carolina Central University, Depauw University, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Peabody Prep, Indiana State University, Buffalo State University, North Carolina Central University, Florida Atlantic University, Juilliard MAP, University of Memphis, Texas State University, August College and University of New Mexico.

Again, thank you for your interest in Gateways Music Festival.


Lee Koonce
President & Artistic Director
Gateways Music Festival